HAMPSHIRE defence giant VT has moved further away from its shipbuilding roots with a deal to move into the nuclear clean-up market.

The Hedge End-based major regional employer is to take over the Project Services arm of state-owned British Nuclear Fuels in a deal worth up to £75m.

Although Project Services made profits of just £8m, the takeover will see VT take pole position in the nuclear power plant decommissioning market, which it claims is worth £1 billion a year every year for the next 50 years.

VT Group chief executive Paul Lester said: "Project Services is highly regarded as a leading provider of nuclear decommissioning and waste treatment engineering services. The acquisition provides VT with entry to a new market where our core competencies in engineering services and the management of critical assets for Government customers are well suited."